Friday, October 19, 2018

Don’t Leave it to Chance - Use a Planned Approach

Strategic breeding plans are becoming more common among commercial herds. Producers are considering their future goals and breeding different groups of animals to certain types of semen to create the most profitable breeding plan. Beef semen and conventional and sexed dairy semen are among the options. Before leaping into a strategic breeding plan, however, it’s important to strategize so the results better meet the goals.

Think and Act Strategically
Developing a strategic breeding program involves critical thinking. It’s about examining the options, conducting the research and gaining insight before making decisions. For this purpose, GENEX developed the Calf Math℠ program. This program has been available for a decade but is perhaps even more applicable today than it was during its 2008 debut.

The Calf Math℠ program, available through consultation with a GENEX representative, enables producers to see the impact breeding strategies (or strategy changes) can have on future animal inventories, herd genetic improvement and farm financials. This information helps producers decide which semen products to use and how much of each are needed to achieve herd goals and maximize farm profits.

What more is in it for producers? The Calf Math℠ program provides many benefits:

1. An evaluation of the dairy’s current breeding program success, replacement numbers and opportunities.

2. Analysis of where changes can improve profitability in an efficient and cost-effective program as well as customization based on future expansion or growth plans.

3. Return on reproductive investment through genetic-based improvement of herd performance.

4. Real-time savings through “right-sizing” the replacement heifer inventory.

A simple version of the program is available online. Herd-specific inventory, conception and event data can be entered to test breeding strategy ideas and to get updated projections. This online version does not include the genetic value or financial impact projections. Contact a local GENEX representative or call 888.333.1783 for the more in-depth analysis.

Working in Concert
The Calf Math℠ and Sort-Gate℠ programs complement each other. While the Calf Math℠ program helps producers determine how many replacements are needed, the Sort-Gate℠ program helps identify which animals to get replacements from and which animals to breed for other purposes (or not at all).

Through the Sort-Gate℠ program, GENEX consultants rank each cow, heifer or calf based on genomic data, pedigree information and/or on-farm performance data. Once ranked on an index that best meets the herd’s needs – i.e., a customized index or an industry index – the females can be sorted for different breeding purposes. For instance, the female may be bred with beef semen to produce a beef x dairy cross calf or to high genetic merit GenChoice™ sexed semen to produce a valuable replacement.

While the Calf Math℠ program helps define the destination, the Sort-Gate℠ program helps determine the roadmap to get there.

The Next Step
Dairy producers have experience in choosing high genetic merit dairy bulls to sire the next generation of replacements, but what about experience in choosing beef sires to create ideal cross calves that are of value to beef processors? That’s where the new GENEX Beef x Dairy (BxD) program and sire catalog can be of benefit.

The BxD program pinpoints the most relevant beef breeds and sire options to use on dairy animals. The program features Limousin, Angus and Simmental/SimAngus™ sires, as these breeds meet the needs of dairy producers looking to make a profit through beef x dairy breeding. Each of these breeds has the ability to produce feeder calves that are homozygous polled and homozygous black for coat color. The designated sires also have the elite EPD rankings end-processors require, as well as calving ease and fertility which are a must for commercial dairy producers. Based on current market conditions, end-processor needs and commercial dairy producer desires, the BxD sires check all the boxes.

Keep in mind beef x dairy animals are terminal crosses, so no emphasis is placed on maternal beef traits.

Turning Vision into Reality
After the goals are developed, the destination defined, the roadmap developed and the sires chosen, it’s time to make sure the breeding protocols are clear and, for best results, meticulously followed. This is the way to formulate a planned approach instead of leaving the future to chance. This is the way to use the Calf Math℠, Sort-Gate℠ and Beef x Dairy programs in concert to bring even greater precision to a strategic breeding program.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Internship of a Lifetime

The following is a excerpt from GENEX Beef Intern, Anna Whitt's article which appeared in the September Horizons Beef Edition.

Never would I have imagined the opportunity to travel out west for a summer, much less participate and become more educated on what I truly care about: breeding cattle and all the factors that go with it. However, being the GENEX Beef Intern gave me that opportunity and more.

Coming from a smaller, 40-head black Angus herd in Spring Hill, Tennessee, I never realized how different things are out west! The fast pace, hard work, dedication and care for cattle that goes into artificial insemination (A.I.) breeding projects is more than I ever imagined. Additionally, knowing synchronization protocols and bull EPDs are major factors that create the desired genetics producers want in their herds.

Throughout the internship, I was often asked, “What’s your favorite place you’ve been so far?” I can honestly say I didn’t have a favorite. I saw mountains, valleys, hills and canyons. I was around all ages, sizes and breeds of cattle. One thing was certain, though: I met so many wonderful people along the way who share a love for cattle.

As the saying goes, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” This statement couldn’t be any more accurate for the GENEX teams I worked with during my internship. Everyone cared not only about their quality of work, but also the relationships with producers they built along the way.


This internship was the experience of a lifetime. I was able to further my knowledge, skills and hands-on experiences in something I am truly passionate about. After helping breed over 4,000 head, traveling over 6,000 miles and visiting eight states, I’d say GENEX has provided this ole homebody Tennessee girl with the perfect start to pursuing her dreams. And, I couldn’t be more thankful or blessed!

Watch for details of this spring's internship coming soon, and find your experience of a lifetime.

Friday, October 5, 2018

GENEX Herd Consultancy Introduced Internationally

Herd management consultancy is a relatively new concept outside of the U.S. GENEX has begun to bring this successful practice to Europe and Latin America, with the hire of two Progressive Herd Consultants, to better serve our customers.

David Ellis, GENEX Progressive Herd Consultant in Europe, recently wrote about his experiences. “We listen intently to the farms’ potential areas of opportunity, helping to find solutions to improve productivity and proficiency,” he said. “Every farm is treated on an individual basis, understanding the farmer’s needs and preferences is of paramount importance when suggesting possible management changes and solutions. We need protocols and targets in place to help optimize cow performance, while keeping a lid on costs.”

A success story David shares occurred on a farm in Germany that had transition issues. Cows were not milking well, and they had low conception rates until about 100 days in milk. Fresh cows appeared to have sunken eyes with poor rumen fill and a high number of retained placentas. After a thorough examination of every aspect of the current management strategy, David presented several suggestions for changing the transition/fresh cow management protocols. At a return visit six months later, he saw marked improvement. Second lactation and greater cows were peaking at 42 liters instead of 30, and the herd owner was extremely happy with how they were transitioning. Implemented changes also resulted in an increased conception rate of 21% from days 50-69 and pregnancy rates increased from 15% to 20%.

Oftentimes, an extra set of trained eyes is all it takes to identify areas where small changes can lead to large improvements. Ask your GENEX representative about herd management consultancy.  We are committed to being the industry-leading supplier of science-based cattle genetics and customized reproductive solutions. We are committed to earning your trust each and every day.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Tried and True Tips for Timed A.I.

Last week's Facebook post asking for tips in planning for your next timed artificial insemination (A.I.) project got beef producers sharing, so we are passing some of that fantastic knowledge on to you, our blog readers. Here is a recap and the seven categories the comments fell into. For the complete list of comments, check out our GENEX Beef Facebook page!

Timing 
"Timing is crucial! We make sure our shots are done exactly on time and likewise for insemination." - Emily Smith Castine











Planning
"Luck favors the prepared." - Kate Meyer

Weather
"As cool of weather as you can get. Early morning breeding, and let them relax." - Ryan Stoecklein

Fertility
"Research your bull choices and use those that you know have good conception or PregCheck™ ratings. It is the easiest way to boost conception." - Justine Ferguson

Animal Health
"Good body condition and good mineral program." - James Mullens

Communication
"A good team of people to work with! Communcations is key for everything to go smoothly." - Carrie Lynch

Set-up and Handling
"Handle cattle and semen carefully!" - Jeff Meyer

Friday, September 14, 2018

LIFEJACKET™ Calf Coats - Protect Your Future


The weather is getting cooler, harvest is in full swing and soon it will be time to pull out the calf coat tote. If you are like me, you had every intention of assessing your needs over the summer, but, poof, time just disappeared. So, there is no time like the present to talk to your GENEX representative about LIFEJACKET™ calf coats. These coats are the same great quality you have come to rely on from GENEX:

Waterproof outer lining with a quilted inner lining
Machine washable
Made in the U.S.



























And here is where the new and improved comes in. Our members and customers asked, and we listened:

Buckle front closure and buckle leg straps for easy on and off (No more straw, sawdust or sand clogging up those Velcro straps!)

Four sizes to fit all of your needs. Each color is a different size to make it easy for you to find the correct one: small-blue, medium-purple, large-teal and extra large-black.

Count on your GENEX representative to be the one-stop shop for all of your herd care needs.



Friday, September 7, 2018

Why Am I Not Finding Cows in Heat

One thing often heard while working with dairy farmers is "My cows are not showing heat and conceiving the way they should." So today, let's take a closer look at the issue and address factors affecting animals' ability to show heat.

First of all, one must determine if the problem exists throughout the entire herd or within a specific subgroup. To do this, analyze your dairy's computer record system. Specifically, look at records for reproduction and events that have happened by lactation or lactation group. Once the group in which the problem exists is determined, one will be better able to find possible causes and solutions, such as the following.


How does flooring affect cows showing heat?
Slippery floors can be a deterrent to cows exhibiting heats and can also cause injury to animals. Generally concrete is the most common flooring surface in dairy facilities. To make concrete flooring more cow-friendly, one could groove or scabble slippery floors. Caution must be used when using grooving or scabbling floor options, as not to make the surfaces too abrasive on hooves. Another option is to use grooved rubber belting or similar rubber products.

How does lameness affect cows showing heat?
Lameness causes stress on an animal. Lameness also tends to cause animals to lie down and eat less. Obviously, if an animal lies down more, it becomes more difficult to observe signs of heat. And, if an animal east less, lameness can cause a cow to lose body condition.

How does body condition loss affect cows showing heat?
A one point loss in body condition can inhibit an animal's ability to exhibit heat. Keeping the ration adequate to prevent body condition loss is critical. Remember a cow is a mother; she needs enough energy to produce milk (feed her calf) before she will want to reproduce again.

How does the ratio of open to pregnant cows affect cows showing heat?
The higher the number of pregnant cows in a pen the lower the amount of estrus that is shown; pregnant cows and cows in mid cycle are much less likely to mount cows in or near heat. A possible solution for this issue is to maintain a higher percentage of open cows within the breeding group.

How does transitioning affect cows showing heat?
The more metabolic problems an animal has when freshening, the greater probability of anestrus. According to research, clinical ketosis, dystocia and retained placentas are associated with more days to first service and a lower conception rate at first service. Overcrowding of transition groups may also lead to more metabolic problems at or after calving.

How does failure of proper observation for estrus affect cows in heat?
Some estimates place undetected heats on farms in the U.S. at 50%. One solution for the issue of failure to properly observe estrus may be to adequately train employees in heat detection technique. In regards to specific time frames for observing animals for heats, the proper time to observe animals in not while they are eating; instead, for best results, it should be every employee's job to make sure they observe animals at all times and properly identify the animals in heat. If herds are housed in stanchion barns, they need to be turned out daily, to conduct proper heat detection.


How does heat stress affect cows in heat?
Cows are harder to detect during times of extreme heat, and if you are able to catch them in heat, many have a hard time staying pregnant. A solution is to have a great heat abatement strategy, which may included sprinklers, fans, tunnel ventilated barns, or multiple water sources for cows on pasture.

In conclusion, there are many different factors that could cause a dairy producer to say, "My cows are not showing heat and conceiving the way they should." To overcome the obstacles, drill down through all layers to find the source of the problem - problems that could relate to the cows not showing heat or people not heat detecting correctly. There are also products available to aid in heat detection such as Reveal™ Livestock MarkersSCR Heatime® cow monitoring systems, heat detection workshops and protocol programs. Work with your local resources (veterinarian, GENEX representative, etc.) to determine your challenges and the fix that is right for your operation.

Sources available upon request.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Two New Products Added to GENEX Portfolio

Procuring your herd care products just got a little easier, as GENEX introduced ReMOOV™ horn paste and UdderLife™ Mint-eez™ udder edema lotion and spray! While I haven't had a chance to use either one of these products yet, I am excited to be able to get them from my GENEX rep and give them a try. Here are a few of the intriguing features of each:


› Less stress to the animal. 
 No expensive equipment. 
 No bad smell. 


 ReMOOV™ horn paste features a uniquely designed syringe that measures out the         perfect amount of paste needed for each horn button.


The syringe also has a special tip enabling precise application to the horn bud.



 
› UdderLife™ Mint-eez™ udder edema lotion and spray are a unique formulation of mint, tea tree and calendula plant oils. (I may or may not be guilty of opening the bottles in my office for a little pick-me-up sniff!)
› UdderLife™ Mint-eez™ udder edema lotion and spray reduces udder edema that can damage mammary supportive ligaments and shorten milking longevity.
› Four options: blue spray, blue lotion, yellow spray or white lotion. (Lotions come with a handy hook on top for hanging near your milking area.)
 No meat or milk residues.

Friday, August 17, 2018

New Jersey Lineup Meets Diverse Needs of Commercial Dairy Producers

Nine New Sires Pad Robust Lineup
1JE01077 MARCELO-UR, a mixed breed sire, is a 1JE00922 RONALDO {3} son out of a Manifold (Holstein). He is a genetic giant at +1012 for the Ideal Commercial Cow™ (ICC$™) index, +239 JPI™ and +782 CM$. MARCELO-UR will sire commercial cows with elite yield (+3011 Milk) and components (+185 Combined Fat & Protein) which puts him at the top of the Cheese Maximizer (ChMAX$) sub-index at +832. Use this sire to improve udders (+10.2 JUI™) and milk quality (+2.75 Somatic Cell Score). He is available in GenChoice™ sexed semen only, is 68 BBR and is un-registered.

1JE01085 PACINO-UR
1JE01085 PACINO-UR is a new 1JE00892 VANDRELL {2} son out of a Daybreak at +806 ICC$™. Another elite yield improver, use PACINO-UR to add fluid pounds at +1954 Milk. He will also improve health traits at +2.2 Daughter Pregnancy Rate (DPR), +3.4 Cow Conception Rate (CCR) and +6.0 Heifer Conception Rate (HCR) which puts him at +125 for the Fertility (FERT$) sub-index. He is available in GenChoice™ semen only, has a 77 BBR and is un-registered.



1JE01081 DOX {3}
1JE01081 DOX {3} is +788 ICC$™ and has a diverse pedigree being an Uncle Luke out of a Chisel. DOX {3} carries a very complete genetic profile: +194 JPI™, +654 CM$, +2.7 DPR and +113 Combined Fat & Protein (CFP). Use DOX {3} as an elite udder improver (+24.3 JUI™) and to improve component percentages. He is available in GenChoice™ semen only.






1JE01080 JONES {3} is a Marlo out of a Pilgrim that comes in at +776 ICC$™, +178 JPI™ and +589 CM$. He’s another elite udder improver (+20.2 JUI™) with an impressive +2.9 DPR. JONES {3} is also available in GenChoice™ semen only.

1JE01071 APPEAL {3} a VANDRELL {2} son added to the lineup at +706 ICC$™ with +581 CM$ and +109 CFP. This bull has a no-holes genetic profile with a positive DPR (+1.7) and positive values across all three ICC$™ index sub-indexes. He is GenChoice™ semen only and is 88 BBR. 1JE01066 ZEKE-UR is another VANDRELL {2} son. He debuts at +699 ICC$™, +573 CM$ and +174 JPI™. He will also improve daughter fertility (+1.1 DPR, +68 FERT$). ZEKE-UR is 85 BBR and un-registered.

1JE01064 JEEPERS-UR is a new sire at +705 ICC$™ and +579 CM$. He’s also an elite Fat bull (+75) which puts his CFP at +112. This Marlo son will improve udders (+16.4 JUI™) while increasing daughter fertility (+0.6 DPR, +40 FERT$).

1JE01075 AROUND {5}
1JE01075 AROUND {5} and 1JE01082 TELFORD {4} are new release 1JE00935 WORLD CUP {5} sons. AROUND {5} is +700 ICC$™ and +668 CM$. He ranks well on the JPI™ at +191 and adds elite yield with +127 CFP. AROUND {5} is available in GenChoice™ semen only. TELFORD {4} debuts at +680 ICC$™ and +546 CM$. This sire will improve daughter fertility (+2.0 DPR) while also improving udders (+17.3 JUI™). He is 90 BBR.




Additional Highlights
1JE00922 RONALDO {3} daughters
1JE00922 RONALDO {3} added daughters and continues to impress: +895 ICC$™, +727 CM$ and +221 JPI™. This Harris son, from the impactful JX Faria Brothers Action Dean Smith {1} cow family, adds huge yield. He is +2210 Milk with +94 Fat and +83 Protein earning him the No. 2 spot on the ChMAX$ sub-index at +789. RONALDO {3} is available in GenChoice™ sexed semen with an elite 105 PregCheck+™ fertility ranking. He is 92 BBR.




1JE00921 EUSEBIO {4} daughters
1JE00921 EUSEBIO {4} also added daughters; he’s now at +653 ICC$™ but is our third highest ChMAX$ sub-index sire at +711. EUSEBIO {4} daughters will milk well (+1836 Milk, +161 CFP). He stands at +172 JPI™.

Friday, August 10, 2018

New Holstein Grads Top ICC$™ Index

Tuesday marked another exciting day of sire summaries for GENEX. The Ideal Commercial Cow™ (ICC$™) index continues to identify sires who will produce cows to fit into commercial dairy operations with five sub-indexes which will enable you to easily narrow your genetic focus, if desired.
Topping the Ideal Commercial Cow™ (ICC$™) index at +1285 is an exciting new sire, 1HO13471 HYFLOW. This Ragen out of a Josuper combines excellent health traits (+7.6 Productive Life, +3.6 Daughter Pregnancy Rate) with outstanding production (+2338 Milk). This calving ease sire (6.2% Sire Calving Ease) will easily sire healthy daughters according to his +406 for the Health (HLTH$) sub-index.

1HO13483 LOKI and 1HO13805 AVALINO are two new Frazzled sons. LOKI ranks second for the ICC$™ index with an impressive +1259. He is also +2752 TPI® and +864 Lifetime Net Merit (LNM$) and sires nice udders (+2.20 Udder Composite). AVALINO is +1113 ICC$™ and will sire daughters with both great udders (+2.40 Udder Composite) and exceptional production (+2024 Milk). Both LOKI and AVALINO are A2A2 as well.

1HO13442 SLAM DUNK debuts at +1184 ICC$™ and offers unique pedigree diversity (Surgeon x Supersire). SLAM DUNK stands fourth in the lineup for LNM$ at +928 and is a well-rounded production sire at +1926 Milk and +147 Combined Fat and Protein (CFP). He can be used in heifer pens with his 6.4% Sire Calving Ease (SCE) while also improving component percentages.


1HO13404 SAMSUNG and 1HO13432 CONCORD are two new exciting Modesty sons that joined the lineup. SAMSUNG is our leading LNM$ sire at +958. This sire of sons is +2718 TPI® as well and will make large strides in improving Protein (+0.11%) and Fat (0.29%) percentages while increasing yield at +151 CFP. SAMSUNG is available in GenChoice™ sexed semen only. CONCORD will improve udders (+2.01 Udder Composite) and is +1050 ICC$™ and +910 LNM$.


Two new RED bulls were activated, 1HO13831 FIREFLY-P-RED and 1HO13833 SKOONER-RED. FIREFLY-P-RED is a Zinger out of Sympatico that can be used in the heifer pens (6.6% SCE) and will sire fancy daughters (+2.21 Udder Composite). SKOONER-RED is a Tyne out of a Launch; this bull can also easily be used in heifer pens (6.5% SCE) and will improve daughter fertility (+3.9 Daughter Pregnancy Rate). 

1HO13449 CARUBA-P is an exciting new polled sire with outstanding yield. He joins the lineup at +1016 for the ICC$™ index with +169 CFP and over a ton of milk. This Answer out of a Josuper is also positive for daughter fertility and is a calving ease option (6.8% SCE). 

1HO11376 TABASCO daughters

In addition to the new debuts, 1HO11376 TABASCO had a great day. TABASCO added daughters and now ranks extremely well at +1056 ICC$™ and +2731 TPI®. This puts him in the top 10 on the daughter-proven TPI® list. This Jacey son combines elite milk production (+2240 Milk) with daughter fertility (+3.9 Daughter Pregnancy Rate).







Friday, August 3, 2018

10 Questions with GENEX Vice President of Production Kristi Fiedler

Recently I had the chance to get a few minutes with one of our newest company vice presidents. She heads one of our largest and arguably most critical departments-production. Spend a few minutes getting to know Kristi Fiedler.
  1. How long have you been in your current position? A little over a year.
      
  2. What did you do prior to your current job? I have worked several jobs at CRI since my MOET (multiple ovulation and embryo transfer) internship in Fall 2005, including about 1.5 years in milk testing for AgSource. I came back to GENEX as a dairy consultant in eastern Wisconsin.  After earning a master’s in management I was hired to oversee the U.S. Technical Services team. In that role I managed the national team of strategic dairy consultants and the dairy support programs used by GENEX field staff.

  3. How did you get your start at GENEX? See paragraph above.

  4. How many employees are on your production team? There are 134 employees between production and distribution.

  5. What areas does production encompass? Production is everything from the time a bull is identified as a genetic outlier to the moment his frozen semen leaves distribution. The team manages health testing, animal pickups, young bull rearing, bull handling, collections, lab processing, cryopreservation, research and more.

  6. How many locations do you oversee? Production is located in five locations: Ithaca, NY; Tiffin, OH; Shawano, WI; Strafford, MO and Billings, MT. 
  7. What has been the biggest challenge of your new position? The biggest challenge in production is that GENEX is in a transition phase, as is the industry.  Bulls don’t stay in stud very long before their genetics are obsolete, on average 2.5 years. So it is crucial for bulls to qualify for CSS and EU as quick as possible, and then they need to be in a collection barn. Our facilities were built for housing long-term bulls in waiting, so we need to invest in facilities to get more bulls in production stalls to increase availability of sires for marketing.

  8. Is there any new development on the horizon you can tell us about? The young sire teams in both the livestock and lab side are doing an excellent job preparing bulls for collection at an earlier age. They accomplished this goal by using research in calf nutrition and lab technologies to lunge us forward in reducing the generation interval.

  9. What do you enjoy doing on your time away from GENEX? My time away from GENEX is spent with my family. My husband, Brian and I have two children, Allyson (4) and Hudson (2). When we get a break from them we can be found in the woods hunting, on the water fishing or on the volleyball court.

  10. What advice do you have for people just entering the job market? Set goals and hold yourself accountable to achieve them. Take time to go to seminars, take extra classes, gain experience and knowledge. GENEX has been a wonderful in helping me and others advance in our careers, but ultimately it is your responsibility to keep up with new skills, change and information.  


Friday, July 27, 2018

Bull Sorting - We Have an App For That!

So by now you may have heard GENEX has a dairy bull search app. If you haven't had a chance to download it yet, I'm here to tell you to get on it. While, I may work for GENEX, I did not have any input into the app's creation. I did download it a week before the public release, so I have had a little more time to explore its features, and I will tell you, I am excited. I will admit, I don't have a lot of extra apps on my phone other than kids' games and the radar, but I have seen and read about my fair share. The convenience of this app makes it well worth the download time and space used on my devices.


DOWNLOAD
So let's first talk about download. The app downloads pretty fast compared to the games I have to get for my kids. It does take a few extra moments to get the bull information once the initial download is complete. But again, it is pretty speedy and it tells you the progress it is making along the way. I was expecting it to take longer considering it has 40,000 bulls in the database.

Once you have the app and bull database downloaded, you can use the program anywhere; no internet required. This is a wonderful feature considering I will probably be using it either in the far-reaches of the barn or as time permits while waiting for the next wagon, load, etc. in the field or at the mill.

The app says updates will be available on the bulls, and it will notify you when you can receive those updates.

FEATURES
The 40,000 bull database of the GENEX Dairy Bull Sort App includes all six major dairy breeds. This is important to me, as I personally use Holstein, Jersey and Milking Shorthorn genetics on my farm. After you select a breed, you can sort based on the ICC$™ index, or any of the other most popular indexes. Then feel free to use the filter button (shown below) to narrow your search. 

Once you have a bull you are interested in learning more about, you can use the icons at the top (shown in the red box below) for additional information. A feature I found particularly helpful was being able to click on the bulls in the sire stack. The app then takes you to the sire or grand sire's page. What a time saver!
When you have the bull or bulls you are interested in, you are able to export the data to a Microsoft Excel or CSV file, or you can make a pdf of individual bulls like shown below.

While this app is already very functional, the best part is that it is new and developers are interested in making it work for you. Let us know if you have ideas on how it can be improved.

GET THE APP
So what are you waiting for? Download the Bull Search app today!




Friday, July 20, 2018

Sometimes We Just Need to Look

I was really searching this week. Searching for inspiration. Maybe it was this summer cold I picked up, maybe it was the kids being done with summer school and driving me a little crazy. Whatever it was, time had come for me to take a deep breath, slow down and look at the beautiful world around me. This life is certainly not easy, but there are so many reasons we love it, sometimes we just need to spend a little time looking.

We were blessed with twin heifers to add to our little Jersey herd on Wednesday. The kids have had fun getting them out. Jess calls them her "little sweeties."

 Anyone who knows me knows I am not a cat fan, but I can appreciate their antics when I take the time to appreciate them.

 If you raise Jerseys, you know, they are always in some type of trouble, or looking for attention!

Today's much needed rain added beauty to the spinner,

and moisture to our knee high third crop

 and tasseling corn.

The rain also gave the bees a rare vacation day,

but it didn't stop the neighbor's turkeys from needing to be herded home. Good thing I have a little man who is up for the task.




Life is good indeed! That doesn't mean it isn't still hard, just that I remember why I chose this lifestyle. I am thankful that from time-to-time, when I need a pick-me-up, I am able to find the inspiration I need just by taking the time to look.

Monday, July 9, 2018

5 Bad Habits of A.I. it is Time You Break

Let's face it, we all do our jobs in a certain way, often without even thinking about it. Sometimes we develop habits that allow us to get the job done faster, but not really effectively. Recently, I had the opportunity to ask two members of our A.I. training team for bad habits they commonly see on farms.

Javier Cheang, A.I. Training Instructor
Carlos Marin, A.I. Training Instructor Manager




















Here are their top five.
1) Over confidence. Once you have a lot of experience breeding cows, it is easy to try to skip steps. Don't! Every step is important to achieving good results.

2) Pulling the gun out instead of pushing the plunger when depositing semen. This is very common, and we see it a lot. To properly deposit semen, plunge the gun half way, then double check the tip of the gun for proper placement. If it is in the right place, deposit the second half of the semen.

3) Depositing frozen semen. Pocket thawing is easy to do, but sometimes not enough time is given to allow the semen to thaw properly. If the cow is really close to where the gun is being loaded, better to opt for the water thaw method.

4) Dirt, grime and slime. This is a combination of several instances where a little extra time and effort can yield big results.

  • Not wrapping the loaded A.I. gun in a clean breeding sleeve. We see guns go into the technician's shirt, and whatever we put in the cow's tract is going to stay there. If the gun wasn't wrapped, it could mean way more than just semen: sweat, lint, dust, manure, deodorant.
  • Dirty water in thawing vessels or incorrect temperatures. It is not rare to find slimy water thaw vessels. This is a good source of contamination for semen straws and A.I. guns. Also check to see that your thermometers are working properly. Water must be at 95 to 98° F.
  • Gunky pockets of A.I. gun warmers. If using a warmer, make sure to clean and wash the inside pocket often.
  • Contaminated A.I. guns. Clean your guns at least once a week with warm water, but never add detergent. Let them dry standing upright. Spray them with alcohol to help with disinfection.
  • Manure on the vulva. Clean the vulva with a paper towel prior to A.I. gun insertion to prevent contamination.
5) Raising the canister above the semen tank frost line. Lifting the canister above the frost line exposes remaining semen straws to room temperatures and starts the thawing process, thus the possibility for sperm damage.